MA Thesis Proposal Guidelines

Please note these are general guidelines. Consult your chair about what he or she expects in your proposal; your chair may have different requirements and expectations. Your thesis proposal must be completed before the end of your first semester of thesis hours.

Your MA thesis will present an original argument of 40-60 pages anchored in research. Your thesis proposal should be 3-5 pages and include a sufficient working bibliography and a working title. Your proposal should first and foremost explain what you hope to examine in your thesis; it should describe what you want to write about and explain why your topic is important.

Thesis Proposal Guidelines:

  • Include a working title that intimates your approach to the subject/topic/text(s) you plan to discuss in your thesis
  • Give a brief overview of research that has been done on your topic/area of interest
  • Explain how your thesis will draw on, revise, expand, and/or depart from existing scholarship
  • Offer your tentative argument or question regarding your topic. We don’t expect you to know your exact argument before completing all of your research but your proposal should outline your initial argumentative claims
  • Include a working bibliography (unannotated) of primary and secondary sources (7-10) relevant to your topic that you anticipate will be important/helpful

Thesis Proposal Steps:

  1. Speak with your thesis chair
  2. Draft and revise your thesis proposal in consultation with your chair
  3. Submit your proposal to your chair for approval
  4. Once your proposal has been approved by your chair, send your proposal to thesis committee members
  5. Once your proposal has been approved by your committee, submit your proposal to the graduate advisor
  6. Review thesis deadlines! (Check exact dates on Graduate Academic Calendar)

Draft of entire 40-60 page thesis to Thesis Committee Chair: 2 months prior to Thesis deadline

Committee Chair Final Review: 4 weeks prior to Thesis deadline

Department Chair Review: 2 weeks prior to Thesis deadline

Dean Review: 1 week prior to Thesis deadline